Having been around the block a time or two for nearly 14 years, Heather has encountered this question time and time again. Her short answer: there is no such thing anymore! Here she expounds on why this is so, giving her insight into the history behind the whole stubborn keyword density concept, and how to move beyond this antiquated mindset to relevant SEO copywriting best practices for keyword and keyphrase use:
What’s the best keyword density for your site?
From the beginning of SEO time, this question has refused to go away. The reason that people think that keyword density is important is because they believe that it is the key to good search engine rankings. While this was once the case, circa 1999, it is no more.
But before getting into all that, for those who are unfamiliar with the “keyword density” equation:
How to calculate keyword density?
Count the number of keywords/keyphrases on a given page, then divide it by the total word count. Voila: keyword density. For example, a 500-word page with 10 keywords/keyphrases = a keyword density of 2-percent.
You can party like it’s 1999, but don’t write SEO copy that way!
Back in the (pre-Google) day, that 2-percent keyword density would have been shy of the 5.5-percent we were all striving for to get the top rankings via the (now extinct) Alta Vista search engine. It’s an understatement to say that much changed since then (i.e., Google arrived), and search engines of the day are now looking at other ranking factors and signals, such as social and links.
So there’s a whole host of other things going into the search engines’ algorithmic soup, and far more important things to focus on both for search engine relevancy and user experience.
What you want to do instead – SEO copywriting best practices:
- Focus on creating engaging content: user experience is paramount.
- Look for strategic places – “power positions” – to insert your keyphrases: headlines, sub-headlines, and hyperlinks.
- Read your copy out loud: if it sounds keyphrase-stuffed, it probably is.
Hope this helps clarify the whole keyword density question for you: in short, it’s no longer a viable question!